Appreciating the Journey

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“For over the Tabernacle a cloud of the Lord rested by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the House of Israel throughout all their journeys.” With these words, we conclude reading the Book of Exodus this Shabbat. A book of the Torah that begins in slavery, walled… Read More

‘Daniel From Texas’

I sat at my desk munching a sugar-coated doughnut. Mr. Heller, our sixth-grade math teacher, handed our class treats for the 100th Day of School celebration. As I neatly chewed mine, I could see the new kid’s mouth twisting left and right as some powder covered his freckled face and plaid shirt. My friends and… Read More

Finding Rest Amid Creation

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We rest on the Shabbos because G-d rested on Shabbos. What does this mean? When G-d created the world he created it ex nihilo, something out of nothing. Before creation there was absolutely nothing besides G-d. With each of the 10 statements of creation (“Let there be light,” etc.), G-d brought our world and everything… Read More

The Value of Faith and Hope

This week’s haftorah echoes some of the themes found in the parshah of Ki Tissa. Its setting is in Northern Israel at a time after the 12 Tribes had been split into two kingdoms. What intrigues me in the reading is when Elijah strongly opposes the beliefs of Ahab and Jezebel, the king and queen… Read More

Man Makes the Clothes

There are 54 portions in the Torah. It would stand to reason that if any topic were to dominate any of these parshahs, that topic would be of excessive interest and import to the Jewish people and the world at large. That’s why many are shocked when they realize that this week’s portion is dedicated… Read More

Finding The Meaning Behind Seemingly Mundane Laws

There is an almost humorous anecdote mentioned in the Talmud in Tractate Brachot. In describing the possible superficial reality of one’s faith in G-d, the Talmud creates the surreal scene of a thief about to secretly break and enter into his victim’s home, whereupon he utters a silent prayer for success in his forbidden activity:… Read More

Parshat Mishpatim Using Our Gifts From God Wisely

In studying my bar mitzvah parshah, I delved into the subject of slavery, comparing the Jewish concept of servitude with slavery as it existed in the pre-Civil War South. To find out more on this subject I studied with Rabbi Shmuel Silber, and we reviewed the relevant sections in Parshat Mishpatim, Sefer Hachinuch, Ramban and… Read More

‘Miriam The Robber’

“I can’t believe Miriam is in Mrs. Shepfield’s class with us,” I said to my best friend, as we jumped onto our swings at the park. “Yeah,” she answered. “Last year, the girls at her old school called her trouble.” “What do you mean?” I said, shaking my head. “Isn’t that gossip?” “No!” Sara exclaimed…. Read More

Leadership Requires Being Open to Critique

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There can be little doubt that the greatest historic leader of the Jewish people is Moses. The entire Torah becomes known as “The Five Books of Moses” or Torat Moshe; the last lines of Deuteronomy remind us: “Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses.” But what qualities made him a truly… Read More

Hidden Miracles

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The following comes from a classic piece of Torah commentary authored by Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman. Popularly known as Nachmanides, he was born in 1194 in Girona, Spain, and passed away in Israel in 1270. What event in Jewish history should we remember more than any other? Its narrative takes up most of this week’s… Read More